Flags will fly at half-staff at Fresno State on Thursday in honor of former U.S. poet laureate Philip Levine, who died in Fresno on Feb. 14 at age 87.
The university hopes to pay public tribute to Levine, a Pulitzer Prize winner and National Book Award winner, in the future if the Levine family so chooses.
Levine was a professor at Fresno State for more than 30 years, and he maintained that the success of his Fresno State students — many of whom he knew had worked as hard as him to better themselves — was one of his biggest rewards.
José A. Díaz, interim dean of the College of Arts and Humanities, said in a news release that the faculty and staff of the college, the English department and the creative writing program thank the community for the outpouring of responses after Levine’s death. He asked “for continued patience and privacy for the Levine family and close friends.”
The Fresno literary scene has been in something of a limbo since Levine’s death, with many people wondering about funeral services. None have been announced, and word at the university is that it appears there won’t be any.
When reached Wednesday, poet Peter Everwine, a close friend of the family, said to his knowledge there’s been no plan for a memorial at this time. “I think something may happen in the future, but Fran (Levine’s wife) has just not gotten settled enough to think about what lies ahead.”
A growing list of remembrances about Levine from around the world can be found on the university’s creative writing program blog at fresnostatemfa.wordpress.com/phil-levine-tributes.